From: Bob Minton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: LMT Literati Contest Entry - Scientologist: Mark Perrin
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 19:21:44 -0500
Organization: Lisa McPherson Trust, a Scientology watchdog group
Copyright © 2000 by Mark Perrin
I am pleased to present this, my very first submission, to the (2nd annual) "Lisa McPherson Trust Literati Contest." The term "literati," for the benefit of those who are not "literati" but who are attempting to read along here just the same, refers to what is known as the intelligentsia, the men (and women) of letters who are able to read and write and who comprise the scholarly, learned class of our society. (Yes, one hates to see the illiterati excluded, but that's another topic, perhaps for another contest.)
One of the reasons I am so pleased is because I believe that the assigned topic ("Scientology: Control, Freedom & Responsibility") offers an excellent opportunity for literati like myself to explore meaty and vital philosophical conundrums. Also I am pleased because a contest such as this, held "in the spirit of a real quest for truth and better understanding of the Scientology organization," can only work to inspire literati to greater achievement in scholarship, research and composition. I am also pleased because I could really use the dough.
I will admit, I was a bit curious at first to discover elsewhere in the literature announcing this competition, certain subtle but unmistakable insinuations as to what might be interpreted as the "correct " political persuasion with regard to the issue at hand. For example, I read "The LMT believes that a more comprehensive understanding of the abusive and deceptive nature of the Scientology organization.etc." I wondered, momentarily, how to reconcile such an utterance with the fore-stated "quest for truth." Did this mean that the judges of the contest, who, for all I could tell, were each and every one members in good standing of the LMT, would perforce discard out of hand any entry that did not share in their preconceived conclusion that the Scientology organization was abusive and deceptive by nature? Did it mean, (perish the thought) that the judges themselves might even subscribe to the monomania and jingoism that characterizes that small band of zealots who are known euphemistically as the "avowed critics"? No, in the final analysis, I could not bring myself to believe such an absurdity. In the first place, true literati would never submit to such restrictive intellectual constraints wherein the "truth" after which one was presumably "questing" was already signed, sealed, delivered and wrapped up in the judges' vault. And in the second place, who could ever credit the idea that the LMT would act in a manner so inconsistent and unconscionable as to engage in the exact behavior that it had decried so harshly in others, to wit, the commission of a thoroughly disingenuous intellectual presentation?
Thus reassured by my own tour of reasoning, I determined at last to set aside any and all misgivings and to plunge forth into the fray. Here, then, is my modest effort. (I just hope I win.)
SCIENTOLOGY: CONTROL, FREEDOM & RESPONSIBILITY
If we were to substitute the word "knowledge" for the word "freedom" in the title of this contest essay we would achieve a perfect match. Actually, though, the two words, "knowledge" and "freedom" as they are understood in Scientology are already very close in meaning. In the book "New Slant On Life," L. Ron Hubbard wrote "Knowledge itself is certainty; knowledge is not data," and in an article entitled "Knowledge, Definition Of," he wrote "Knowledge is a total certainty and understanding of data and this would include objects, actions, spaces or areas, time and forms." In "Dianetics 55" Mr. Hubbard wrote, "That mind which understands itself is the mind of a free man." In other words, without knowledge there can be no understanding and without understanding there can be no freedom. This relationship will become more abundantly clear as we proceed.
In any event, if we are to talk about "how control, freedom and responsibility operate together." in Scientology we might then very logically begin with an understanding of the KRC Triangle.
In the KRC symbol, the triangle shows the interrelation and interdependence of the three corners represented by the letters K, R and C. In other words, if you suppress or take away one of the corners of the triangle, the other two collapse; conversely, if you increase any of the three, you also bring up the other two.
Regarding this triangle, Mr. Hubbard wrote: "The route up from death or apathy or inaction is to KNOW something about it, take some RESPONSIBILITY for the state one is in and the scene, and CONTROL oneself to a point where some control is put into the scene to make it go right."
Here then in the KRC Triangle we are provided simply and clearly with a summation of the mission of Scientology and how it is envisioned that it might be accomplished. These three concepts operate together because, as we have seen, they are not only mutually supportive but also interdependent. They operate together in this fashion, not just within the organizations of Scientology, but in all of life.
At this point we might continue to elaborate at some length on this theme, exploring the myriad applications of these concepts and their usefulness to the business of life in general. Unfortunately, however, we find we must veer off at this point along another track, for as it has already been noted, the rules of the Literati Contest also direct that the essayist must discuss the "clash" therein.
Unfortunately, to the Scientologist there is no "clash" inherent in the concepts of freedom, control and responsibility. On the contrary, these are concepts which, through practice and gradually increased understanding and application, can enable life to proceed effectively and harmoniously along a route towards higher and higher levels of effective action and survival. And so we seek in vain and in the end are constrained to seek elsewhere for some sort of strife or conflict that might satisfy framers of this contest.
Fortunately, we need to look no further than to the "avowed critic" himself to find our clash. In fact, as we read over the heartfelt outpourings of the Critic Literati, we discover there is little other than clash and clatter to be found. (How, you may ask, does the critic manage to imbue subjects such as freedom and knowledge with strife and conflict? Well, apparently the way he does it, if I read him correctly, is to assert that these are not really what the Scientologist is interested in at all. No, says the critic, what the Scientologists are really pursuing is slavery and ignorance.)
And so, reluctantly, we turn our sights away from the KRC Triangle in order to focus more thoroughly on the subject of "clash" - a subject which has not only been ordained by the rules of the critics, but also (thoughtful of them) served up in abundance by the literati amongst them for our discussion. My mission then, it would seem, is to seek out some resolution to this dichotomy of opinion, to attempt some bridging of this gaping abyss between freedom and slavery, between knowledge and ignorance, or at least between the definitions and perceptions thereof. And while I hate to see sides drawn and arguments engaged and while I firmly believe that little good can ever emerge from such dialectic drudgery, as I mentioned earlier, I could use the cash.
1.. A Scientologist would tell you that he was engaged in an activity designed to improve his ability to control the factors of his environment so as to achieve a greater personal freedom. 2.. The avowed critic of Scientology, on the other hand, would tell you that just the opposite was occurring: that the Scientologist was actually undergoing a regimen of gradually tightening control, rendering him less and less able to handle his environment and thus winding him up ultimately in a slavery.
How is it possible that two literati viewing the same phenomena could draw such diametrically opposed views? I believe the answer to this riddle may be partially found by viewing the general temperament and philosophical disposition of the opposed individuals in question.
Both the Scientologist and the avowed critic are interested in changing conditions. Both would profess an interest in attaining greater personal freedom. The fundamental difference lies in what is viewed as the primary obstacle to attaining that change.
In Scientology there has evolved a broad agreement on the principle that people are inherently good. It is further understood in Scientology that an individual's freedom is dependent upon his assuming responsibility for his condition by exercising good control in his life. By good control is meant the competent engagement in those activities which contribute to an accurate observation and understanding of the factors involved in life and a resultant course of action designed to result in the greatest good for the greatest number of those persons or factors concerned. In this manner the Scientologist is inclined to view the greatest obstacles to his own success as originating from within himself by virtue of his own ill-chosen actions or omitted actions.
At the opposite end of the spectrum (the avowed critic) we find a greater distrust of man's inherent nature and a heightened concern with the possibility of one's personal freedom being constrained from without rather than from within. We also find further a suspicion that man is easily duped and led astray. From this perspective there comes a greater interest in the problem of how to control the behavior of others as opposed to how to control one's own behavior.
In this light we see clearly how the activities of the Scientologist appear to the critic as exercises in the highest form of folly. The critic, inclined as he is to suspect that any apparent show of benevolence is merely a fake and a trap, and thus that the stated aims of Scientology as formulated by Mr. Hubbard ("A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.") can only be a ruse designed to lead the unwary and the uninitiated into enslavement, is then bewildered by the legions who are willing to lend their support. And from these opposing philosophies we can begin to understand all manner of divergences of opinion. For example:
As we have already seen, the Scientologist attempts through his study and drills to achieve a higher level of control over himself and his environment, while the avowed critic suspects these drills and studies to be aimed at the subjugation of the Scientologist for the illicit benefit of some covert portion of the organization.
Here the critic's attention may become stuck on the word "control," a word which he is wont to equate with "subjugation". In fact, it is a likely bet that the word "control" has been included in the title of this contest for the solitary reason that the critic views this subject with some distinct suspicion. To the critic, as with most things, it is a black and white proposition and the one thing of which he is quite certain is that he doesn't want any control being exercised in his vicinity. Somehow, the possibility of a beneficial control has been overlooked altogether.
The Scientologist, on the other hand, understands that control can be either good or bad and knows how to differentiate between the two. In the book "Problems of Work", Mr. Hubbard wrote: "There is good control and bad control. The difference between them is certainty and uncertainty. Good control is certain, positive, predictable. Bad control is uncertain, variable, unpredictable."
The Scientologist, believing that man is basically good, concludes that if man were freer to be himself he could only become better. The avowed critic, suspecting that man is not basically good, fears that any greater freedom for others could threaten his own freedom and so engages in a shrill refrain for a harsher control of Scientology.
The Scientologist, operating from a belief that the dissemination and instruction of the basic tenets of Scientology will serve to help Man improve himself, concludes he has some responsibility in furthering this effort. The avowed critic concludes that the entire concept of responsibility is a ploy to further control and subjugate the Scientologist along with anyone else who might be foolish enough to wander into the lair.
The Scientologist, believing that he is the primary author of his own difficulties, concludes that the greatest barriers he faces are those aspects of his own mind of which he is not fully in control or of which he is perhaps not even aware. Again, the avowed critic sees this as only method duping the Scientologist and distracting his attention from the real enemy who lurks without.
To the Scientologist, the real enemy is the reactive mind. "Reactive mind" is the term Mr. Hubbard defined as that "portion of a person's mind which works on a totally stimulus-response basis, which is not under his volitional control, and which exerts force and the power of command over his awareness, purposes, thoughts, body and actions." It is a fundamental datum to Scientology that one of Man's most fundamental errors is his tendency to mistake himself for his reactive mind.
When we stop to carefully the consider the full implications of these two world views, we are struck with how truly extraordinarily balanced they are in their opposition.
On the one hand, the Scientologist would have us believe that a perfectly serviceable route has been found leading to Man's own improved happiness and survival and that in Scientology this route has been clearly marked for one and all to follow. On the other hand, the critic would have us believe that the route so marked is in actuality a treacherous path leading only to degradation and total enslavement and that this insidious plot has been maliciously unleashed upon an unsuspecting world and that despite its total transparency (to the critic), Man in general is so stupid that he has broadly failed to observe it for what it actually is and has therein fallen to prey to the greatest swindle perhaps ever devised - especially given the fact that somehow Scientology continues to grow at an ever faster pace, day in and day out.
The critic thus believes his responsibility is to alert mankind to the dangers at hand. He feels he must do whatever possible to control the menace he perceives all around him. He's sure that if something isn't done soon, Man's days of freedom are numbered. Each time another government endorses the legitimacy of Scientology, each time another court vindicates Scientology from the latest critic's attack, each time a new city or country is opened to the organizations of Scientology, the critic's dismal view of Man is confirmed. He feels betrayed and frustrated. As Literati Critic Arnie Lerma wrote in his prize-winning essay of a year ago: ". I marvel [.] that this deception is tolerated at all, in modern society anywhere, much less in the United States of America, the purported leader of democracy and freedom in the world."
Like Karl Marx, who characterized religion as the "opiate of the masses," the critics feel compelled to unburden the proletariat of the burden of its beliefs. Unfortunately, Marx's system didn't provide the masses much in the way of personal freedom, control over their own lives or responsibility for anything and so in the end the economic and political system that ensued wound up in a slavery. But then Marx and his successors held a rather imperious disdain for the masses. We have seen this also to be the inclination of the critic.
The critic's answer to this dismal state of affairs (as he sees it) has been to screech louder and longer. His language is increasingly twisted by invective. He gropes for the words that will somehow penetrate the wall of non-comprehension he confronts at every turn. He feels compelled to portray a scene so outrageous, so outlandish, so filled with fury and injustice, that somehow, somewhere, someone will be at last shocked into taking notice. And still, the organizations and activities of Scientology expand at a dizzying rate to an ever-heightening chorus of accolades.
WHY WON'T THEY LISTEN?
The critic claims he has the truth and that if this truth were only broadly known or understood, an end to the entire Scientology network and all of its organizations would quickly ensue. But, as we have seen, this "truth," for whatever reasons, has not yet been broadly accepted or acted upon.
What is it exactly that the critic is up against? How is it that this message that appears to him so painfully obvious and urgent continues to go unheeded by the vast majority of his would-be listeners? What unfathomable phenomenon bars his route to the one goal he covets above all else: a sympathetic ear?
There are actually several answers to this puzzle. For one, man, spoon fed on the controversies that so obsess the media, is already dully accustomed to these impasses. He is used to the idea that nearly every story of any consequence (and many of no consequence at all) contains its dialectic opposition. He has come to swallow the idea that the truth is a malleable commodity subject to vicissitudes of time and treachery. Too often he sits paralyzed before his television set or his morning paper, caught between one or another of these counter-balanced sets of diametrically opposing views, and concludes there is really no answer.
More importantly, however, the avowed critic commits a fatal error in flaunting his craving for agreement. The franticness and desperation of his message tend alert the average listener to the fact that something here may be awry. Even worse, from his point of view, is that the fear and loathing of his warnings may even attract more interest than it dissuades. For example, elsewhere in the same essay cited above, Mr. Lerma offers a solution to anyone who might be needing advice as to just how to steer clear of Scientology. "Never trust anyone," he writes, "who feels they have the answers to the universe." Answers to the universe? Although no reference is provided as to just which questions the universe might be posing, the blanket interdiction against anyone with an answer would seem unlikely extinguish the curiosity of anyone but the most paranoid of individuals.
And then of course ultimately there is the small matter of how you would determine the truth of the issue, for the incontrovertible fact remains that when one is presented with two diametrically opposed positions, one can safely assume that at least one side has got it wrong.
So where do we go from here? Is there any way out of this muddle? Yes, perhaps there is. What's more, the "Official Rules of the 2000 Literati Contest" actually oblige us to attempt that very goal (".must provide some practical resolution or approach to the Scientology issue.").
So, in the interest attaining such a resolution, I wish to issue a clear statement of the most fundamental question at hand, a question which, once resolved, will finally, for now and forevermore, provide a viable and practical resolution to the "Scientology issue". And that question would be just this: How could one actually come to know the truth of the matter?
THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH
It may be considered either fitting, or ironic, depending on one's orientation, that the word "Scientology" itself should offer us a possible approach to the question, since the root "scios" means knowledge and the root "logos" means study. In fact, the subject of Scientology itself could be summed up as a study of the methodology of knowing how to know or how to discover truth. The question of whether or not Scientology is successful in this mission, a question which is obviously at the core of our controversy, we will leave unanswered for the moment. What should be noted, however, is that this question itself is highly relevant, not only to the declared purposes of the Literati Contest, but to question of freedom itself. In fact , Man has long since observed this relation and has noted it in his religious and philosophical writings with variations on the age-old maxim: the truth shall set you free.
So the question we are now embarked upon: how can we sift through these vastly divergent claims and come to arrive at the actual truth about this subject?
In order to accomplish this we would first need to establish some basic assumptions. (In Scientology these basic assumptions relating to the question of establishing the validity of an apparent truth are covered under the "Logics.") First, for example, we would need to assume that some truth did exist with regard to the subject being viewed and independent of what anyone might have to say about it. In other words, that despite any interpretation or subjective "spin" put on the subject, there existed an actual objective reality. Second, we would have to assume that this objective reality could be observed and thereby known and that it was within the powers of ordinary human observation to know it . Finally, we would need to agree on what we meant by "known". There are many ways of "knowing" something. People sometimes feel it is good enough to know something by intuition or suspicion. Others are satisfied to take something for truth based on the opinion of another who is viewed as knowledgeable in the area.
Perhaps these methods are satisfactory when it comes to predicting the weather. However, when we are talking about the difference between slavery and freedom, it seems only logical that we should strive for a higher level of certainty.
And so we ask, on what does certainty depend? And the answer, it turns out, is that it depends on the quality of observation. Like truth, certainty is a relative proposition. To attain a high level of truth one would need to attain a high level (in terms of reliable accuracy) of personal observation. Such observation would of course need to be unobstructed and undistorted. It would need to be direct. It could not rely on a relay of information where there was a possibility that the relay itself was tainted or inaccurate. In other words, it would have to be utterly free from the slanted utterings or urgings of anyone at all, let alone anyone who has an axe to grind or goods to sell.
QUALITY OF OBSERVATION
In looking at this further, let us take, as a mundane example, a person wishing to open a restaurant. Let's say this person has no real experience in running a restaurant and decides to research the subject by reading what he can find and talking to other people who appear to be knowledgeable in the area. At the same time let's imagine another person of comparable ability but who has had experience working in and managing restaurants. Who of these two will be likely to be more self-assured at the onset, make the better decisions and enjoy the greater success? Everything else being equal, it is obvious that the person with personal, first hand experience has the clear advantage. This is because, simply, his knowledge is first hand, based on personal observation and not subject to the possible errors contained in the evaluations of others or to his own doubts or double guesses.
Here then, indisputably, is the highest level knowledge -- not based on the testimony of others, the position of the stars, the entrails of birds or anything else. Rather it is always and only the product of direct, accurate, untainted observation and is characterized foremost by the resultant degree of certainty achieved by the observer. And herein lies answer to the "Scientology issue" as posited in the rules of the Literati Contest.
The problem of the critics, as expressed over and over again, is simply this: how can we go about convincing others that Scientology is the way we say it is and not the way they say it is? To that end they wish to be able to instill in others the same level of alarm they themselves feel over the inexorable progress of Scientology. But the horrible problem they are facing is that they are dealing in a commodity which is ultimately a lower level of truth. In "The Creation of Human Ability" Mr. Hubbard wrote: "People at low levels of awareness do not observe, but substitute for observation preconceptions, evaluation and suppositions, and even physical pain by which to attain their certainties."
Read any of the three award-winning essays from last year's Literati Contest and what do you find? Almost 100% preconception, evaluation and supposition. Sure, it's all backed by volumes of "evidence," but once again the "evidence" falls into one or more of these categories, and while these arguments may seem quite true for the writer himself, within his own context of viewing the world around him, the problem is that unless the reader or listener has observed these incidents and phenomena first hand, there can be no knowledge, or certainty of truth derived therefrom. Instead what we are presented is merely a lower level of knowledge, one based on opinion and evaluation, and in the end one really has learned nothing for certain except, perhaps, how the author feels about the subject, for as we have seen, evaluation is a shoddy substitute for observation.
On the other hand, devotees to Scientology are won over on another plane altogether. In reading the writings of L. Ron Hubbard one is not asked to agree with an evaluation or supposition but rather one is simply asked to look. (In an article entitled "Personal Integrity," Mr. Hubbard wrote: "Nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you unless you have observed it. And it is true according to your observation. That is all.")
Often, in the course of reading through the literature of Scientology people find they are thus lead to observe things from their own experience of life and these things they can recognize to be true based on their own observations and experience. Similarly, in the process of receiving auditing, a person's attention can be directed in such a way that he gains a new understanding of some aspect of his life. Again this understanding would be based on his own experience and observation and not on the testimony or suggestion of another.
This recognition of truth is knowledge and certainty of the highest order. It is apparently relatively impervious to the evaluations and invalidations of others and is this fact alone that would appear to be enough to drive the critic to despair. Figuratively or literally, the critic stands in front of the organizations of Scientology, his sign held high, emblazoned with his preconceptions, evaluations and suppositions, exuding the fondest hopes winning new converts to his cause or at least of shaking the certainty of the Scientologists who pass him by. Rarely, however, are his wishes fulfilled as those few who are occasionally frightened away are replaced many times over with each new revolution of the sun.
The critic observes this phenomenon and seeks to explain it and ultimately does so at the expense of those he's failed to convince. Here we return to our earlier discussion of the critic's patronizing view of man. The critic, as noted earlier, has little confidence in the basic nature of man or his capabilities. His view is that man is generally not capable of a high level of truth or certainty. Instead, he sees man as falling into one of two classes: the manipulators and the manipulated, those evilly working to exploit their fellow man and those too weak and stupid to resist exploitation. For the critic, the Scientologist always falls into one of these two classes; he is either an incarnation of evil seeking to enslave those around him or he has himself succumbed to brainwashing and is himself a slave.
It is hardly surprising then that the critic has gone to such great lengths to try and explain how all this works. In last year's winning literati essay ("Doing Hard Time on Planet Earth" by Joe Cisar) the author devotes almost the entirety of his 12,000 words to the exposition of a psychological theory that attempts to explain this entire phenomenon. (In Mr. Cisar's view, the experience of truth and certainty described above is not only illusory but is actually addicting, much like heroin. In this fashion, he concludes, the manipulators of Scientology are able to enslave throngs of weak and stupid people by addicting them to delusional "highs" which they are somehow uniquely able to manufacture.) In this fashion the critic explains away the apparent certainty and stability of the Scientologist, fits it into his view that such commodities are not actually available to most of Man and is thereby able to maintain an apparent consistency of perspective.
REALITY VS. DELUSION
If we boil it down even further, the question is really two-fold: 1) can truth be perceived by anyone and if so 2) how is it done? You tell me you see a tree, that you can confirm this with your senses, that you are as certain as you can possibly be about its existence. I reply to you, no, you must be deluded, there is no tree there at all and furthermore I have a lot of friends who will agree with me that you are nuts. Once again, have we arrived at a stalemate? Perhaps not.
We are now charged with the problem of distinguishing what is real and what is delusional. The Scientologist says "If it is true for you, then it's true." The critic says "If you think you've found some truth, don't count on it." Is there any way out of this standoff? Is there any litmus test for truth?
The implications of this question become quite clear and all-encompassing. If there is, indeed, no way for an individual to distinguish between truth and delusion, then there can be no certainty, then we are all ultimately subject to control and enslavement and no freedom is ever possible. (And as for Responsibility, the whole subject becomes meaningless, for without knowledge, responsibility is certainly not possible.)
One cannot be sure if the critic means to be taken quite so literally on this subject. One suspects that if asked, he might even hedge his bet on the issue. One suspects that he might exclude himself and certain other like-minded literati from his equation, so that the inability to distinguish between truth and delusion would be seen to plague only those whose truths did not align with the critics. But here we would have to object; we would have to argue that there is no evidence to support the theory that innately Man divides into two classes, those who can perceive truth and those who can't; we would have to point out that this would be no different than declaring that amongst men there exists a class of men naturally born to be slaves, a philosophy which has already been tried on several notable occasions with notably disastrous results.
In either case, however, the argument that truth is unknowable (either to some class of men or to all men) obviates our entire discussion. In the first instance, if we assert that no one can know the truth (not even literati) then certainly any discussions of the same are meaningless from the beginning. Similarly, if we say that there is a class of man who does not possess the capacity to know truth, then again our essays as pointless and we have answered the question before we ever started.
So, by process of elimination, let us then proceed on the basis that all men innately possess some faculty, to greater or lesser extent, to perceive truth. If this is true, then it must also follow that there would be a distinguishable difference between a person who possessed knowledge of an actual, workable truth and one who possessed an unworkable falsity by virtue of delusion (or perhaps just plain cussedness). Further, it would follow that one, through accurate observation, could come to distinguish which was which.
Let us start with an extreme example for the purpose of illustration. Let us consider a prisoner of war who has been shocked, terrified and tortured into espousing the enemy cause. What is this individual's level of truth and certainty? Does he now possess a certainty about the ultimate truth of the enemy cause? No, he does not. His certainty, rather, is that if he does not espouse the enemy cause, he will die. Possibly, at some level, he has said to himself that the enemy cause is alright in order to help himself assimilate it in order to survive. But this is knowledge on a much lower level; it is knowledge by force and evaluation. On a higher level of knowledge, the individual simply knows he is in danger of dying if he does not co-operate.
It could be seen that even under such arduous circumstances and even though the individual's ability to think and observe had been to some significant degree forcefully overridden, that the individual would still retain some recognition of distinction between levels of truth and knowledge and he would recognize that his endorsement of the enemy cause was not the highest level of truth available even though it was now obviously in his best interest to maintain that it was.
THE THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ADDICTION
As a corollary to our model of torture and duress, let us look at another example, literati Joe Cisar's elaborate model of "psychological addiction." There are a number of excellent reasons why we should examine Joe's theory of addiction in some detail. In the first place it addresses itself directly to the question of freedom and slavery which is a vital component of the current contest theme. In the second place, it is a core issue in the domain of the critic, as critics far and wide, since their earliest times, have striven to evolve a satisfactory theory that would explain the otherwise unexplainable (to the critic) appeal of the Scientology movement. In the third place, it is an integral part of the essay which received the highest literati award of the critics and as such may be presumed to some degree to embody the general sentiments of the critics with regard to this issue and also, possibly, the highest evolution of their theorizing on this problem to date.
In Joe's theory we discover a hypothetical person whose free will is being overridden, not through an aversion to pain, but rather through an addiction to pleasure. In this case the hypothetical pleasure being administered is none other than the delusion of having discovered some "timeless truth." Here, by "timeless truth" we understand Joe to be talking about this higher level of knowledge we have previously described. This is the knowledge that is based on observation and is characterized by certainty, only in Joe's hypothesis the "timeless truth" is not really truth at all but is rather some cleverly concocted counterfeit.
Joe describes it thus: "This unique effect [the discovery of "timeless truth"] is something which addicts are drawn towards to the exclusion of constructive activity in their own lives. In addition, it is something which only the provider can give them under the circumstances which they need to obtain the desired effect."
Joe doesn't explain how it is that only the "provider" can provide this bogus effect but we understand him to mean that he feels that the game has been somehow mysteriously rigged by the "provider" so that any conflicting "timeless truths" (like, for example, those of the critics) tend to go ignored. In addition, Joe points out that these "timeless truths," which, we should remember, aren't really timeless truths at all, are merely accepted as such as the result of an indoctrination "program for the uncritical acceptance of apparent truth."
Of what does this indoctrination program consist? According to Joe, it works like this: "Only a certain number of people make it from one step to the next. That means in order to actually get people through the entire program, a huge throughput is required. [.] These programs can be understood as a set of filters, each one of which works in conjunction with the others to filter out self-determined thought."
In other words, the critics believe, or at least this critic believes, that "the program" (i.e. Scientology) consists of a progressive screening of the general population designed to gradually eliminate anyone capable of independent observation, recognition of truth or "self-determined thought." What would this process leave? Apparently a stratum of the most gullible, suggestible and hypnotic subjects in the population.
In this fashion, we are to presume, Scientology would shortly come to monopolize the very bottom rung of the social order, including, presumably, the insane, the mesmerized, the retarded, the indigent, the criminal, the parasite and every other ne'er-do-well of whatever stripe or description. At the same time, anyone possessing the slightest modicum of intelligence or the ability to accurately observe the obvious would be returned to the society at large, fully armed with a first-hand understanding of just how bum an operation this really was.
One of course would readily conclude that any group so engaged in such a process of unnatural selection would so quickly and inevitably load the social deck against its own survival and its own best interests as to make lemmings look like social engineers of the highest order. But here there is an even greater oddity and that is this: if a group were actually going about cutting its own throat at such a mad clip, why on earth would anyone feel the slightest need to contribute to their inevitable demise, let alone the apparent urgent ambition to fight them? This question, unfortunately, Joe has not addressed. Perhaps the answer lies, once again, in the critic's general view of man.
If evil and stupidity comprise the basic nature of man in general, the critic must think, then it would be possible to exercise some sort of social monopoly through an appeal to this stratum alone. Under this line of reasoning the critic would not view such a process of selection as the one described above as self-defeating, but rather might be inclined to conclude, given his view of things, that it represented the very best way of going about it. And so the critic, viewing the world around him through the filter of his own suppositions and evaluations, fails to observe at all and simply continues to confirm for himself what he's "known" all along. The key to understanding and identifying this pattern of thinking lies in the fact that the critic apparently almost never describes what he "observes" in any terms other than absolute black or white. People and organizations are generally seen to be all good or all bad. The good tend to have no shortcomings and the bad are usually without a single redeeming quality. This is the world as seen by the critic, a world without gradations.
In Scientology, the term "gradient scale" is defined as a gradual increasing in the degree of something. This is a useful tool in logic in that it helps to underscore the fact that phenomena can be best understood in terms of relative degrees of plus or minus rather than in terms of black and white absolutes as, in fact, absolutes do not actually exist at all in our universe. For example, truth itself is a relative thing, spanning a scale from falsehood at one end to higher and broader levels of truth at the other. Similarly, we could chart relative degrees of freedom, ability, survival, etc. At the top of such a chart we find a correlation wherein the highest degree of truth corresponded with highest degree of freedom, ability, survival, etc.
Here we may return to our earlier problem of how we distinguish between a person who possessed knowledge of an actual, workable truth and one who possessed an unworkable falsity by virtue of delusion. In the first place, as we have already noted, we have to be capable of some observation. According to Joe's hypothesis the rank and file of Scientology would be comprised, by arduous process of elimination, of only those individuals incapable themselves of any observation, self-determined thought or discernment of truth. These then would comprise the very bottom most rung of our gradient scale and would also be characterized by the lowest levels of freedom, ability and survival. What would such a group look like if we were to observe them? What type of productivity would they be capable of? What would be their level of ability and survival in the society? What would be their level of morale?
I have no interest in attempting to answer these questions - such would merely be an evaluation on my part and would contribute nothing toward the reader's own quest for truth. Rather I am only trying to point out that the question of how to distinguish between a person who possessed knowledge of an actual, workable truth and one who possessed an unworkable falsity by virtue of delusion or malice can be answered. The apparent stalemate is not really a stalemate at all. The challenge of the Literati Contest ("a practical resolution to the Scientology issue") has been solved. All that is required is that one simply look.
Scientology organizations comprise a wide array of both religious and secular activities throughout the world. Scientologists are active in many fields including personal counseling and therapy, education, drug rehabilitation, criminal rehabilitation, mental health reform, religious freedom, etc. These individuals and activities can be contacted, they can be communicated with, they can be observed. One can discover whether or not and to what degree they are being effective. One can read the literature they employ and analyze their systems and programs. One can observe the people they have set out to help and determine the results that were or were not achieved. One can study their technologies and their policies as contained in the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. In short, one can come to know the answer and know it with a high level of certainty, much higher than any "knowledge" that might be attained through reading this essay or the essay of any other literati or secondhand observer.
The critic of course would warn you against looking too closely, but when someone says you shouldn't look, that it is dangerous to look, that you may be duped and lose your freedom from simply looking, well then, that is the time to become suspicious. That is time to ask: what is it that this person knows that he doesn't want me to find out about? For really the only way you could ever enforce a slavery is by denying the truth and the only way this could ever be achieved would be by preventing observation.
In his article entitled "Personal Integrity" L. Ron Hubbard wrote, "What is true for you is what you have observed yourself and when you have lost that you have lost everything." What does it mean to have lost everything? It means, for starters, to have lost any possibility of control, responsibility or freedom. But it also means to have lost oneself, because one's ability to be oneself depends totally on one's ability to observe and to know what one has observed.
The Dark Ages were dark simply because people were prevented from looking. The writings of the greatest minds of history were hidden or destroyed because it was thought that it was too dangerous for people to look. Like the avowed critics, the people who felt this way had a rather dismal view of man. For whatever reasons, they feared how man might react under the influence of having looked too broadly. The person who is afraid to look for himself, does not trust his own ability and so is already enslaved in a cage of his own manufacture. The person who fears for his fellow to look, does not trust his fellow and so would have him enslaved for "his own protection." The only real freedom there is begins with the ability and willingness to look.